* Vaccine Information and Clinic Schedule

* Children, Youth and COVID-19 Vaccines                        

* Third Dose Vaccine Rollout in Grey Bruce for Certain Immunocompromised Patients

* Proof of Vaccination in Select Settings

Electronic/Printable Vaccine Receipt

* Ontario is currently in Step Three of the Roadmap to Reopen

* The Grey Bruce IPAC Hub, as part of a Ministry of Health initiative, has officially made their webpage public. The hub provides IPAC expertise and support to congregate living organizations in the Grey Bruce area. Find the page here: https://www.publichealthgreybruce.on.ca/Your-Health/Infectious-Diseases/Grey-Bruce-IPAC-Hub

* Sexual health clinics are closed temporarily. If you need birth control prescriptions or STI testing, go to nearest emergency room. For condoms, visit our office during regular hours.

Message From the Medical Officer of Health

 

Dr. Arra

 

Dr. Ian Arra

Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer

Grey Bruce Health Unit

 

Seasonal Celebrations

 

The year has come full circle, and here we are again, it is time to break bread in celebration of our many varying traditions in Canada. Depending on our celebratory customs, this may be a time to reflect and acknowledge all of which we are thankful.

Let us continue to be thankful for some of the most valuable things we hold dear in life, family, friends, good health and wellbeing. Let us work at creating an equitable society, free from prejudice and oppression. We have so much to be thankful for, and I hope we can focus on these things as much as possible this season!

In celebrating, the good things and recognizing the areas that we as individuals and society need to improve on, let us celebrate and reflect responsibly. One main strategy that we can all employ to ensure we keep ourselves, friends, and family as safe as possible is by following COVID-19 precautions and getting vaccinated as soon as possible.

While we may want to see this pandemic in the rear view mirror, it is time for us to remain diligent as we, in Public Health, help to manage the various variants circulating in Ontario. While our vaccine coverage continues to climb, many of our families remain unprotected; hence, we need to adhere to Pubic Health recommendations, especially during times that we gather with friends and family.

So please, celebrate, and stay socially connected. Here are recommendations to help you do so safely:

If you are hosting a gathering, including Thanksgiving dinner, for Diwali, etc.…

You may have a gathering with people you don’t live with. However, it is important to remember that knowing someone does not reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19. Keep following good public health practises.

If you choose to host an in-person gathering:

  • Do not exceed the gathering limit of 25 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.
    • You should have the fewest number of people possible at your party or gathering and use outdoor spaces whenever possible.
  • Provide all the necessary supplies, including hand sanitizer, soap and water.
  • Open windows, if possible. (if an indoor celebration is planned)
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces.
  • Ask guests to not attend if they have symptoms, even if they are mild.
  • Make a list of guests attending in case public health needs it for contact tracing.
  • Remind people of public health guidance to follow during the event.
  • If you choose to serve food or drinks at your party, you should:
    • Wash your hands before and frequently during preparation and serving; and;
    • Have everyone wash their hands before and after eating.

If you choose to attend an in-person gathering:

  • You should not attend if you have any symptoms, even if they are mild.
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer regularly throughout the event.
  • Consider participating virtually or not attending the event if you are immunocompromised or at higher risk of severe disease and/or exposure to COVID-19.

As we move through this season of joy and thanks, let’s continue to be kind and thoughtful of all, and reach out a helping hand to those in need, and let’s continue to make small sacrifices for a bit longer to ensure we can all enjoy a safe and happy season full of happiness and joy.

From my family to yours,

Dr. Ian Arra, Grey Bruce Medical Officer of Health.

 

For More Information:

Dr. Ian Arra, MD MSc FRCPC ACPM ABPM

Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer

To arrange to speak with Dr. Arra, please contact Drew Ferguson at:

519-376-9420 or 1-800-263-3456 ext. 1269 or d.ferguson@publichealthgreybruce.on.ca

 

October 8, 2021

Archived MOH Messages

26

Message from MOH – Advising against COVID-19 testing with no symptoms or reason

posted on

Message from MOH – Advising against COVID-19 testing with no symptoms or reason

As a father of one, I understand everyone’s concerns about having children go back to school during the COVID-19 pandemic.  I want to let you know that we have been actively engaged with Public and Catholic School Boards, and the private and rural schools throughout Grey and Bruce.  For the most up to date information, please visit our website or contact your school to see their plans.

Feeling anxious, you may want to take your child or children to get tested for COVID-19, just to be sure they do not have it.  I want to explain to all parents that if there are no symptoms, and no close link to a confirmed case (as decided by local public health) then there is no practical benefit to getting your children tested.  There is, however, potential harm.  Let me explain.

  1. Testing for COVID-19 can be a difficult event for some children. Like any other clinical test, there is the potential for complications, one of which is potential long-term anxiety that could negatively affect a child’s mental health.  

 

  1. False reassurance is another harm.  Testing someone who has no symptoms only lets them know that on the day they were tested, they were not shedding the virus.  It is very possible to test negative one day (while incubating the virus), and then develop symptoms and test positive in a day or so.  It is not a bulletproof way to say that you or your child is COVID-19 free.

 

  1. Testing in people that have no symptoms can result in false positives.  A false positive may cause significant and unintended anxiety in families linked to the false positive.  Self-isolation, inability to attend work, and fear/anxiety are real outcomes of a false positive.  Imagine getting a call from Public Health letting you know that you and your family have been exposed to COVID-19, when in fact you were not?  Now imagine that this happens to a number of families as their children attend the same class or school.  This is not acceptable in my mind, and could cause significant harm. To that end, as the Grey Bruce Medical Officer of Health, it is important to share that there are no practical benefits of mass testing of asymptomatic individuals and that potential harms are paramount.  I made an oath based on the first principle in practicing medicine - the principle of “Do no harm”.

 

  1. Testing people with no symptoms puts undue pressure on provincial testing capacity and delays the results for people that actually do have symptoms.  Delays in receiving results can pose significant risk to facilities that may be battling true outbreaks.

Getting a COVID-19 test would be appropriate and strongly recommended only in the following two scenarios:

  1. Public Health has let you know that you are a Close Contact to someone who has COVID-19, based on a thorough risk assessment completed only by Public Health. Deciding who is a close contact is a decision that can only be made by Public Health. This decision cannot be made by your health care provider or school official(s).
  2. Your health care provider has told you to get tested because you have COVID-19 related symptoms.

If neither of these situations exists, testing would NOT be suggested, and in fact, Public Health strongly recommends against it.

If there is a case in your child’s school or class, that, in and of itself is not a reason to get tested.  If there is potential that you were a close contact to a person with COVID-19, Public Health will call and advise you.  If you do not get a call from Public Health, you DO NOT need to get tested.  I fully appreciate that if you find out there was a case in your child’s school, your anxiety may be elevated.  Rest assured that we will notify you if you or your child need testing, and will do everything in our power to keep the children and staff in that school safe.

We work together with school officials before and during the school year to ensure that the safety and wellbeing of both the children and staff in the schools remain our priority and that everything we do reflects that objective.

I would never have my child tested without proper cause. As a parent and Medical Officer of Health, I would only consent to testing if my child had symptoms and had been assessed by their health care practitioner, or was considered a Close Contact and directed by Public Health to do so.

I remain,

Yours very truly,

 

A father and MOH, Dr. Ian Arra

 

February 26, 2021

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